“We’re happy, this is an open source community, we’re excited for people to go off and start their own projects,” said Gefrides, but noted that while the project remained outside of the AOSP, it was nothing but an unofficial experiment.
Asked if Intel would reconsider its position should Huang’s port prove popular on a PC, Gefrides said it was impossible to predict. “At this point, who knows whether Android will ever end up on a PC or not,” he said, noting that Google already had its own Chrome OS for netbooks.
Intel’s frustration at AMD’s apparent attempt to undermine its open source work on Google’s operating system also come down to the sheer amount of effort the chip firm has invested in tweaking the platform to make it x86 device ready.
Gefrides explained that since Google’s Android development team was relatively small, it could only focus on one flagship phone every six months or so, leaving other chip and device makers to optimize the OS themselves in terms of having it run efficiently, with optimal battery life.
“The challenging part was getting enough bandwidth to get all of our stuff integrated into the code, but now that’s done, the port is done and we’re just focusing on how to get the phones out as fast as we can,” said Gefrides.
Intel apparently has several teams working on its Android efforts, with Gefrides noting the numbers were in the thousand range. “It’s a company wide effort, I can tell you that,” he said, noting that the teams spanned everything from the initial Google TV project, to teams working on phones, teams working on tablets, teams working on drivers, validations and other efforts.
Despite the momentum in Android’s favor, however, Gefrides said he still felt Intel was a port of choice company, which supported a plethora of operating systems.
“On Linux, baseline driver work is all the same. It’s the optimization that’s different. We build off our Linux support,” he said, adding that Intel had been “a very good open source community player” in terms of driving open source and the Linux environment forward.
Whether Intel and Google’s views on open source are as transparent as they seem, however, remain debatable.
“If you claim that a project like Android is entirely open source then, yes, Android should be able to run on everything from a PC to a smartphone to a toaster,” said Android expert and commentator RusselL Holly.
Holly went on to say, however, that the point was whether to port the operating system to devices which did not make much sense.
“The larger touch integrated devices, those are ideal for Android experience,” he said, pointing to some All-in-One PCs. “There are options for a variety of interesting functionality on those, but for standalone PCs, I don’t think it would be worth it,” he said.
On the other hand, said Holly, there would certainly be no point in stopping anyone from trying, though the fragmentation of the platform could cause problems in the future.
“If AMD was contributing to the Android open source project, that would be one thing, and it wouldn’t be fragmenting the platform, but if they’re not sharing the work back, there’s concern there in so far as fragmentation goes,” he said.
“If they’re not sharing, it defeats the purpose of it being an open source initiative. Using an open source project to create something that is closed source is by definition fragmentation.”
AMD did not respond to EE Times’ request for comment.